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The magic of October

I became a Mets fan in 1969.   It was their magical year, and I was just old enough to start following the game in earnest.  I have been a loyal and passionate fan ever since. 

When I went into politics full time I had not thought through all the consequences of my career choice.  You see October is a busy time in my day job, making it a whole lot harder to follow my boys when they make their October run.  I missed big chunks of the 2000 playoffs, when they went all the way to the World Series.  And yesterday I missed Delgado's home run and David Wright's two doubles on their way to a first game win.  But this year I have three surrogates, rooting at home, wearing their Mets clothes - Jed, Will and Kate, my three kids.  They all wore their Mets gear yesterday, bought by grandpa, another die-hard Mets fan. My oldest son Jed, the same age now I was in 1969, regaled me with stories of the game when I got home last night.  He has caught the baseball virus, no doubt about it. 

A few years ago when I would go to New York I would joke that I was both a Mets fan and a Democrat, suffering at the superiority of the Yankees and Republicans.  What is so sweet this October is that it sure appears that we Mets fans and Democrats are not a suffering lot anymore. 

NPI launches completely revamped website and new "Engage the Blogs" Memo

The new website is filled with new features and new content, including video of a multimedia talk that gives an overview of the New Politics transformation, an edited viral video introducing the Millennial Generation, and exclusive video interviews with Kos of DailyKos and other NPI fellows. All can be accessed from the front page or the video page.

We're also unveiling the next recommendation in our fall New Tools Campaign. Make sure to read “Engage the Blogs,” a memo by longtime blogger and internet strategist Jerome Armstrong, coauthor of the book Crashing the Gate. Armstrong explains how progressives can best leverage the blogs over the coming weeks and months, as well as think of them as a long-term asset.

We forward to your feedback on the new website and hope you will check back frequently in the coming weeks as new features and new content are added to the site.

Google Chief on Internet Politics

Google Chief Eric Schimdt was speaking at the conference of the UK Conservative Party yesterday, and had some interesting warnings for politicians.

Many of the politicians don't actually understand the phenomenon of the Internet very well," Schmidt told the Financial Times. "It's partly because of their age ... often what they learn about the Internet they learn from their staffs and their children." The advent of television taught political leaders the art of the sound bite. The Internet will also force them to adapt. The Internet has largely filled a role of funding for politicians ... but it has not yet affected elections. It clearly will."


New NDN Poll - Miami Cubans Think Castro is Finished, Expect Democracy

NDN's Hispanic Strategy Center put out a new poll yesterday looking at the attitudes of South Florida Cubans:

The influential South Florida Cuban exile community overwhelmingly believes that the era of Fidel Castro is over, and is newly hopeful for a speedy and peaceful transition to democracy, according to the first major poll taken since Castro’s hand-over of power due to illness. The poll, released today by NDN and Bendixen and Associates, shows that 88% think that Castro will not return to power, while half of those polled expect democracy and liberation of Cuba within the next 5 years. More than three quarters want a peaceful and gradual transition. The poll, reported in this morning’s Miami Herald, also shows declining support for travel and other restrictions against Cuba, and a new openness to consider creative means of engaging the people of Cuba and its government to accelerate democratization.

The piece has been picked up widely - in Businessweek, Newsweek, The Miami Herald, and elsewhere.

Why Hastert should resign

Denny Hastert should resign out of embarrassment for what he has presided over as Speaker.  His team has been without question one of the most corrupt, irresponsible bunch that have ever run Washington.  For respect for our government, and for the American people, he should take responsibility for the anything goes culture he has fostered and resign.  Lets review what's happened with senior members of his team in just the past year:

Majority Leader Tom DeLay - indicted, resigned.  General corruption, fixing elections. 

Duke Cunningham - indicted, resigned, now serving the longest jail term in Congressional history.  Bribery, corruption, prostitutes, gambling.

Rules Committee Chairman Bob Ney - indicted, resigned.  Intervened against an Abramoff business rival - in Florida of course - who was then murdered by a mafia hit man. 

Committee on Missing and Exploited Children Chairman Mark Foley -  resigned, rehab, etc. 

NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds - Hires Foley's chief of staff, participates in the Foley cover up. 

Add to that the extraordinary corruption of the Iraqi occupation contracting process, the Katrina contracting process, the selling off of "earmarks", the arrest and jailing of a series of top Congressional staffers turned "lobbyists," the creation of a K street secret police reporting in, shaking down and terrifying American business interests, the systemic buying off of journalists, the degradation of the Committee and budgeting process, the now apparent corruption of the 9/11 Commission, the acceptance of warrentless spying on American citizens, and it all ends being a terrible, shameful period in our history. 

Speaker Hastert should take responsibility for all this - with Mark Foley being simply a mild manifestation of the underlying anything goes culture - and resign. 

The Intelligence Committees need to convene this week

Buried in the Rice affair is the very real possibility that the 9/11 Commission process was corrupted by Republicans looking to cover their mistakes.  As I wrote this morning, the Commission's Executive Director Phillip Zelikow was present in 2004 when CIA Director George Tenet testified to the Commission.  In that interview, which the Post reported earlier today, Tenet told the Commission of the now fateful July 10th meeting with then National Security Advisor Rice where he warned the White House of an imminent attack by Bin Laden.  Somehow, even though this meeting was very important to establishing the official record of what happened prior to 9/11, this meeting never made it into the final 9/11 Commission Report. 

One person will know what happened - Phillip Zelikow, who of course is now working for Secretary Rice.  Did he purposefully keep this meeting from the 9/11 Commission to protect Rice and the White House?

There is one way to find out.  The Senate and House Intelligence Committees should call him to testify this week.  Right now.  The entire credibility of the 9/11 Commission is at stake.  For if something of this magnitude was manipulated, what else may have been altered by Zelikow or other staff?

Given the appearance of tampering with a grave and serious national security matter, Speaker Hastert and Senate Leader Frist should demand an immediate investigation into what happened.  This cannot wait until after the election.  They should task the two Intelligence Committees with a limited and brief task of bringing Zelikow, Rice, Tenet and Cofer Black to the Congress this week and see what can be learned. 

The nation needs to know immediately if the 9/11 Commission process was corrupted.  If the Republicans do not create such a process right away they are admiting their complicity into a terrible cover up of one of the most tragic events in American history. 

The mystery of the July 10th 2001 meeting

This morning's Post has a story that deepens the mystery of how everyone in Washington forgot that the CIA director warned the National Security Advisor on July 10th, 2001 that an attack by Bin Laden was imminent. 

You see this meeting, a critical and important one, was somehow left out of the 9/11 Commission Report and had never been mentioned prior to the publication of the new Woodward book.  Condi Rice first said the meeting never happened; she then reversed herself and said it did, but that she forgot about it.  We all then wondered how it was possible that the record of this meeting never made it into the 9/11 Commission Report.  This new story makes it clear that Tenet did brief the 9/11 Commission on the meeting, that in fact he provided them slides and other papers from the briefing he gave to Condi on that July day. 

Questions then:

1) How did the fact of this meeting fall out of the 9/11 Commission Report? Did the Commission's Executive Director, Phillip Zelikow, now a Rice staffer, fight to keep it out?

2) Rice has consistently said she was never told that summer that Bin Laden my strike inside the US. Did this briefing have such information? According to this story it did. And why does she keep saying this when the Aug 6th memo to the President clearly indicates that Bin Laden was attempting to strike in the US?

3) Did Rumsfeld and Ashcroft get the same briefing, as Sec. Rice says?

4) What specific actions did the President and National Security Advisor take upon receiving this urgent briefing on July 10th, a full two months before 9/11?

5) Isn't it now clear that Bush and his team were amply warned about the impending attacks throughout the summer and did nothing? And that the Secretary of State is simply lying about a grave and serious security matter to cover her ass?

My own belief is that the Sec. Rice's response to these matters is so insulting, full of lies and ass-covering that she must resign.  Her credibility is now completely shot, as it is clear that she has been leading a cover up of information critical to our understanding of how this nation suffered a major attack, and the role she and the President played in ignoring important warnings that it was coming.  She can no longer be trusted to do what is right, only what is expedient for her and the President.  And in a time as challenging as these times, that is not acceptable. 

Josh Marshall grabs a new nugget on the July 10th mtg

From talking points memo tonight:  


Just out from McClatchy ...

The independent Sept. 11, 2001, commission was given the same “scary” briefing about an imminent al Qaida attack on a U.S. target that was presented to the White House two months before the attacks, but failed to disclose the warning in its 428-page report.

Former CIA Director George Tenet presented the briefing to commission member Richard Ben Veniste and executive director Philip Zelikow in secret testimony at CIA headquarters on Jan. 28, 2004, said three former senior agency officials.

Tenet raised the matter himself, displayed slides from a Power Point presentation that he and other officials had given to then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice on July 10, 2001, and offered to testify on the matter in public if the commission asked him to, they said.

.....Very hard to say what would be behind the decision to leave it out considering that Ben Veniste was one of the Dems on the Commission. "

And of course, Philip Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, now works for Condi.  Was he the one who dropped this little nugget from the report?

Condi Rice: Oh on that terrorism thing, I forgot

A sheepish spokeman for Sec. of State Condi Rice let reporters know today that the Secretary in fact did get a briefing on July 10th, 2001 from the CIA that warned her in very strong terms that a terrorist attack on American interests was imminent.   

You see last night she denied the meeting took place.  Today they admit that it did take place, but that she just forget about it. 

Let's consider this argument.  The CIA director has a private meeting with the National Security Advisory and says a terrorist attack is imminent.  A month later the CIA advises the President and his team a terrorist attack in the US is imminent.  A month later an attack takes place.  And you forgot you warned by the CIA that this was coming, and that you did nothing about it? Are we really supposed to believe this argument from the Secretary of State?  And why didn't the 9/11 Commission know about it?

This is going to get ugly for the Administration.  What is the old line, it is never the act itself but the coverup that gets you?

Anyone think Rice will survive this? And does she go before the election?

David Cameron's Online Guide for '08 Candidates

As NDN's resident Brit, i like to sneak in the odd blog post about my home country. But this one happens to be relevant. David Cameron is the new leader of Britain's conservative party. This week he, and his previously hopeless party, gather for their annual conference. They will be joined by John McCain, who is to speak during the week. There he will see the Cameron political phenomenon, even if it might not be beyond McCain to spot certain items ransacked from the repertoire of the current Prime Minister.

But it is Cameron's use of new media that interests me. Yesterday he launched WebCameron. Ignore the bad pun, and have a look. Its a video rich site featuring daily clips of him talking about what he is up to behind the scene, along with clips from friends, guests and advisors (including John McCain.) The first clip features Cameron washing the dishes, the second talking about his feelings having made a speech. All are aggressively informal, unfussy and personable. Its almost as if politics has suddenly gone all Hill St Blues, complete with shaky camera work and behind the scenes footage. In an era in which trust in politics and politicians has declined, Cameron's people have clearly decided that no production values are the best proxy for trust and honesty. And i for one think the site is exceptionally effective.

Now the only question is which Presidential candidate do the same thing. My hunch? All of them.

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